Before beginning his account of the ministry of Jesus, Dr. Luke provides us with a genealogy of Jesus through Joseph all the way back to Adam.
The names take on a familiar ring at about the time of King David: Nathan, David, Jesse, Boaz and ending with the Patriarchs, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and finally to Adam. Such documentation is to be expected from a physician who did his homework. This places the Jesus Story in a universal context.
Led by the Spirit
After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit the Lord led Jesus (Some say He was driven by the Spirit!) into the wilderness. He fasted for 40 days with only the desert creatures for company, except for one unwelcomed companion—Satan himself. The fast and the temptation both lasted 40 days. There was a purpose in all of this:
- Jesus had to endure temptation at its greatest power in order to completely defeat evil.
- Jesus had to prove Himself to be the master of Satan. That fallen angel would try his best but would never best the sinless Son of God.
- We believers in Jesus can appropriate Jesus’ victory over temptation and sin, because Jesus, the Victor, lives within us!
Decades later John, one of the Disciples of Jesus, wrote that temptation came in three varieties:
- The lust of the flesh,
- The lust of the eyes, and
- The pride of life.
These correspond perfectly to the final assault of this 40-day battle when Satan flamed out in defeat.
- Lust of the flesh. Jesus was very hungry so Satan tempted Him with food. Jesus countered with the Word, true nourishment!
- Lust of the eyes. Satan took Jesus to a high mountain from which He could see the kingdoms of this world. He offered them to Jesus in exchange for worship. Jesus saw more than the shimmering horizon in this vision—He saw the deception inherent in the lust of the eyes—envy, greed, power, riches ruthlessly gained, and vanity. We must keep our eyes on God and worship Him only.
- The Pride of Life. Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, the center of the center of the faith. He sought for one hint of pride in Jesus. If you are the Son of God—prove it! He quoted scriptures promising safety when danger came near Messiah. There was not a glimmer of pride in Jesus as He rebuked the old devil for the final time.
Jesus was and is the Victor!
Jesus was in the right place at the right time—fasting and seeking God in the wilderness, preparing for His public ministry. This is a vital key to victory over temptation—stay in the center of God’s will. The sheep that wanders away from the Shepherd is the victim of the roaring lion. Know the Word—know the Word! Know it so well you can quote it in the devil’s ugly face. He has no answer for the Word confessed in faith. In times of temptation, when we quote the Word of God, we can actually feel Satan slinking away.
Luke: 3:23-38; 4:1-13
Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathiah, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah, the son of Joannas, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er, the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
1 John 2:16-17
For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.
Lord Jesus, thank You for that ordeal in the desert. You did not yield to temptation. You defeated every trick of the enemy and You did it for me! Through You, I can have victory over the lust of the flesh. By Your grace I can have a clear spiritual vision, unclouded by the lust of the eyes. Because Your Spirit lives in me, I can go about in genuine humility, taking the servant’s place in victory because You defeated the Pride of Life. “Victory, yes, victory. Hallelujah! I am free, Jesus gives me victory!” Amen and Amen.
Words: Barney E. Warren
1. Hallelujah, what a thought!
Jesus full salvation brought,
Let the pow’rs of sin assail,
Heaven’s grace can never fail,
Victory, yes, victory.
Hallelujah! I am free,
Jesus gives me victory;
Glory, glory! Hallelujah!
He is all in all to me.
2. I am trusting in the Lord,
I am standing on His Word,
I have peace and joy within,
Since my life is free from sin,
3. Shout your freedom everywhere,
His eternal peace declare,
Let us sing it here below,
In the face of every foe,
4. We will sing it on that shore,
When this fleeting life is o’er,
Sing it here, ye ransomed throng,
Start the everlasting song:
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
TheJesusStory devotions are also found at KingdomWinds.com.